Tuesday, August 09, 2011

London's Burning Dial Nine Nine Nine Nine Nine

It was var-nigh impossible to sit and watch television news last night without being strangely affected - in some way, shape or form - by the truly bewildering images of wanton, crazed, incendiary, vicious and, ultimately, pointless destruction which were transmitted live into homes across the UK. Hundreds - possibly thousands - of people (mostly, though not exclusively young. Some very young. Mostly, though not exclusively, strutting around like they owned the sodding place because they knew they were unlikely to be stopped) attacked and looted shops in London and four other major cities - Birmingham, Liverpool, Bristol and Nottingham - in what police described as 'copycat criminal activity.' There were smaller disturbances in the Medway towns in Kent and also in parts of Leeds. And, having watched it with a curious sense of mute anger and shame, one then sat - numb and rather chastened - and muttered some ridiculous platitudes about what a thoroughly sick and rotten world we live in. This is England in 2011. It's not Beirut in the 1970s. It's not Berlin in the 1930s. It's not Peterloo in the 1810s. It's happening here and it's happening now. To paraphrase the KLF - 2011, what the fuck is going on? It's rather scary and discombobulating, to be honest. Worse, though, it was completely totally and utterly predictable that something like this was going to happen sooner or later. Because, dear blog reader, we've got a scum underclass in this country who have no respect for anything - for law, order, decency or other people. Nothing. It's been building since the 1980s - 'there is no such thing as society now' and all that. And now it's here and we're all, what, surprised? I am not a rich man, dear blog reader - I just about get by, for what it's worth - but in the past I have been poor. I mean, flat stony pink-lint broke without two brass farthings to rub together. And, not infrequently either. I claim no moral superiority over anyone, in any context (except, perhaps in relation to the viewing of some reality TV shows), but I have never, once, thought about going out and knocking off the local Kwik-Save because of any poverty I've found myself living in. I'm not proud to say that. I shouldn't even need to be. It's not because such a thing would be wrong so much - although it obviously would - as because it would cheapen me. To go out and rob brings oneself down to the level of a petty criminal. 'Thou shalt not steal if there is a direct victim,' Dan Le Sac and Scroobius Pip once noted and they were absolutely right. Rioting because you feel a towering sense of injustice at the manifest unfairness of the world can be an acceptable form of protest in certain circumstances. One might, just, form a coherent argument of justification for doing so, particularly when it is taking place in an undemocratic environment as we've seen in, for example, certain parts of the Middle East over the last few months. But this isn't some tinpot dictatorship we're talking about, this is Britain. It has many faults in other areas but a lack of inherent democracy is not one of them. Just because you don't agree with the government doesn't mean you smash the joint up. And I say that as somebody who doesn't agree with the current government on just about anything and who doesn't feel they even have a mandate to do many of the things that they are doing. And, in four years time I'll use that lack of agreement to vote for someone else. That's what living in a democracy is all about. The alternative barely warrants thinking about. The last time we had riots in this country on anything like this sort of scale was thirty years ago. Certainly, the street action which engulfed Toxteth, Brixton, St Paul's and other areas in the early 1980s appeared - at the time, and even more so with hindsight - to have been driven not so much by political or economic factors as by social ones. A crumbling society in its last hours desperately crying out for recognition before it sank under the weight of hopelessness. That was something which even the government of the time seemed eventually, and somewhat reluctantly, to acknowledge. Change was necessary and it only came when it was forced upon those in power. But that was then and this is now. We are living through tough times again but there is nothing even remotely comparable in what has gone on in Tottenham, Hackney, Clapham, Croydon and Enfield over the last few nights to the Ghost Town summer of 1981. Stopping a few youth clubs being closed down because of government cuts wouldn't have mattered in the slightest bit here. And, anybody who thinks that they would is just plain wrong. Some very clever people are currently debating the reasons for the continuing rioting, but, essentially you don't need a Masters Degree in sociology or criminality to work this one out. It is, simply, an example of mass sheer badness for the sake of it. Worse, it was and is downright dishonest in so much as it has used the cloak of (perhaps justified) moral outrage concerning a - possible, though as yet entirely unproven - example of the police using excessive force simply as a damned good excuse for a plethora of arson, robbery, carnage and mayhem. There was a moment yesterday afternoon that seemed to sum it all up to this blogger. Sky News followed a young chap in a grey hooded top down Hackney High Street from the safe vantage point of a camera on a police helicopter as he picked up a large piece of two-by-four and took out his naked, frightening aggression on the front window of a Ladbrokes. He smashed at it for what appeared to be two or three minutes (it was probably about thirty seconds, but it seemed far longer). But the window just wouldn't break and, eventually he got discouraged and, with a resigned shrug, he wandered off towards the shop next door, still clutching his pole tightly in his hand. He wasn't doing any of this because he was angry at society or the government or the police. There didn't seem to be any political agenda to his actions whatsoever. He was simply doing it because he wanted to get inside the shop and steal some wonga. Scum. Greedy, ignorant scum. Nothing but.
And, yet we all watched it. Live and breaking. The BBC's News at Ten on Monday evening had an astonishing average audience of 7.69m with a peak of 8.35m in the first five minutes. By a considerable distance, it's the highest News at Ten figure of the year beating the previous high of 6.65m for the bulletin on 22 May 2010 featuring coverage of the Icelandic ash cloud. As if that wasn't enough, there were an additional 1.25m watching News At Ten on the BBC News Channel. Between 8pm on Monday evening and 1am on Tuesday morning the BBC News Channel was watched by an average of on- and-a-half million viewers with a peak of 2.08m at around 9:50pm. Between midnight and 1am, the channel was being watched by an average of 1.11m - a seventeen per cent audience share of the total number of viewers watching TV at that time, again by a huge distance its highest ever. It was also a jolly good night for Sky News which similarly topped a million viewers constantly between 9pm and midnight with a peak of 1.75m at 10:20pm. Less good news, though, for ITV. Their News at Ten only brought in a paltry 2.2m. One has to wonder, of course, with the hugely popular New Tricks leading into the BBC's News at Ten with 8.2m and ITV's not-even-remotely popular Show Me The Funny leading into their news programme with just 1.87m viewers whether the lead-in shows had anything to do with this apparently staggering disparity between sides when the news came on. Or whether, in times of a big news story people just automatically tend to gravitate toward the BBC. Probably it was a bit of both. To put the news audience figures in a slightly different light, in the 9pm hour, the audience figures across the channels were as follows:-
8.15m (32.6 per cent) - BBC1
1.87m (7.5 per cent) - ITV
1.71m (6.9 per cent) - BBC News
1.43m (5.7 per cent) - Channel Four
1.29m (5.2 per cent) - BBC2
1.11m (4.5 per cent) - Sky News
1.03m (4.5 per cent) - Channel Five

In other trouble-related news, the BBC press office have confirmed that they received approximately ten complaints on Monday from people who felt that BBC news coverage of the riots in London and other areas should try to avoid describing those involved in the ghastly naughtiness and awful shenanigans as 'protestors' or 'demonstrators' instead of 'looters', 'criminals', 'anarchists', 'scumbags' or, yer actual Keith Telly Topping's particular favourite, 'dumb stupid ignorant bastards.' Certainly these individuals don't seem to be protesting or demonstrating about much in particular. Except, perhaps, their lack of trainers and HD-ready TV sets. More than six hundred people have been arrested and police have begun releasing CCTV footage of people they want to question in connection with a variety of incidents. A twenty six-year-old man shot in his car in Croydon during last night's riot has died and a murder hunt is under way. Police have not confirmed whether the shooting was in any way linked to the riots. Police forces which have sent officers to the capital include North Yorkshire, Humberside, Lincolnshire, Kent, Sussex and Surrey. A spokesperson for Kent Police said they have been sending thirty to fifty officers to London every twenty four hours. Comment has not been slow in coming from all manner of places. For instance Darcus Howe, the writer and broadcaster, told the BBC News Channel: 'I don't call it a riot, I call it an insurrection.' He is also quoted - by a particularly spiteful and agenda-ridden article in the Torygraph, admittedly, and if he did say this I missed it - as comparing London's riots to those in Syria. If he did indeed say such a spectacularly stupid thing then I'll be interested to see how Darcus, someone I've always had a fair modicum of respect for, defends such comments to black and Asian shopkeepers who've just had their livelihoods destroyed. To black and Asian families made homeless because of arson. And to black and Asian workers who might not have a job to go to today. Personally, this blogger prefers to describe these events as 'a load of criminals having a good time and nobody doing a damn thing to stop them.' But, maybe I'm just being a reactionary bigoted old fart and crime is the new rock and roll. Anything's possible. The really worrying thing is that I'm starting to find myself agreeing with some Tory MPs. Not all of them, you understand, but some. And that's, genuinely, worrying. The MP for Enfield North, Nick de Bois, isn't one of them, however. He is, though, someone who believes it's time for a bit of tough love it would seem. He tweeted: 'Our capital has been trashed, it is spreading across UK. It's time for COBRA to authorise use of water cannon and army support if it continues.' Other general suggested solutions from a local radio phone-in that yer actual Keith Telly Topping had the great good fortune to catch on Tuesday morning included 'it's time to send the army in,' declaring a state of emergency or, indeed, martial law, 'shoot the looters' (thanks ever so much to Jimmy the taxi driver from Wallsend for that particular suggestion) or giving pensioners water cannons to deal with the situation. Which, to be fair, they could also film with a Richard Hammond commentary and show it on Saturday's in the Total Wipeout slot. Double bonus. Mind you, if you think this sort of codswallop it just the off-the-rocker ravings of a few right-wing nutters, then check out the comments of the well-known Conservative MP, rank gobshite and former army Colonel, Patrick Mercer, who said that the police 'should consider the use of water cannon and rubber bullets where necessary.' Rubber bullets being used to the streets of England's capital city. Yes, dear blog reader, that was a seemingly serious suggestion made by someone whom some people (in Newark, as it happens) actually voted for. And, proving that not all idiocy comes from the right of the political spectrum (not even close, it should be noted) Diane Abbott, the Hackney MP, on BBC Breakfast repeated her earlier call for a city-wide curfew: 'We have to regain control of the streets and we have to have a decisive strategy for doing that. One thing, I think, we should consider is some sort of curfew. Very hard to enforce in a twenty four-hour city but what's happening is kids are sitting at home, seeing other kids looting trainer shops, looting phone shops, and thinking "I'll have some of that." What we can't have is increasing numbers of young people coming out to loot night-after-night.' People voted for her as well, please note. On the subject of a potential curfew, on Twitter, the broadcaster Danny Baker noted: 'Lots of agreement about curfew. So nine o'clock it is, then? Except in Hampstead where it's nine for 9.30. (Drinks at 8.45).' Danny added, slightly more seriously: 'Media need to show less looping of burning buildings and more thick heads being shoved into meat wagons. Not now with the scaremongering eh?' And, later: 'Fuck [the] hand wringing and chattering. Fuck "interesting" articles on days like this. I wish cancer on every one of these rioting dogs.' Blimey, that's most unlike Dan the Man. But, not entirely off-the-edge-of-the-map, it must be said. You kind of understand such frustration when you remember that this is, after all, his city that's being reduced to a smoking ruin. Especially when you see something as downright sick and evil as this occurring. Let's hope, for instance, that this pair of inarticulate, crass young cretins get swiftly nabbed by the bobbies and sent down the pokey with extreme prejudice. 'It's the Conservatives, right, innit? Or whateva.' Thanks for your contribution to the debate, you stupid little girls. Apparently the pair featured on that second clip are seventeen and were talking to the BBC's Leana Hosea having been drinking a stolen bottle of Rosé all night. It's to be hoped that Leana remembered to take their names and addresses and then passed them on to the Met once she'd finished her interview. It's also to be hoped that when they get in the house their parents given them a ruddy good pants-down hiding they'll never forget. See what I mean about the horror of finding myself sounding like a Tory? Shops in the Clapham Junction area also came under sustained attack from looters on Monday night. The local MP, Jane Ellison, got her boat-race on the BBC saying that parents should be asking some 'tough questions' of their children. If they suspect them of having stolen goods, she said, parents should 'march them down to the police station.' Yeah, like that's going to happen. Most of the looters probably had a shopping list from their parents as well as one for themselves. The comedian John Bishop condemned the violence on Richard Bacon's BBC 5Live programme. He said: 'None of us really know what's driving it. It's not rioting for any political reason, it's not rioting for any social motivation, it's not even rioting for a materialistic reason because once the lootings [are] done why set fire to the building? And that, to me, gives some sort of indication that people don't feel socially connected to the environment they're in.' Acting Scotland Yard commissioner Tim Godwin appealed to families to help officers bring the situation under control. 'I do urge now that parents start contacting their children and asking where their children are,' he said. 'There are far too many spectators who are getting in the way of the police operation to tackle criminal thuggery and burglary.' Norman Smith the BBC's chief political correspondent, told Radio 4 listeners: 'It's clear last night's police operation was a failure and the government has to make sure it is a success tonight. They cannot afford a fourth night of rioting. Talk of the army being deployed is premature, but there is pressure for [a] much more robust police response.' London mayor, Bumbling Boris Johnson suffered a satisfyingly torrid time as he and the Home Secretary, Theresa May, were heckled by a group of shopkeepers in Battersea who wanted to know where the hell the police were last night whilst their shops were being looted. Johnson - who flew back early from his summer holidays - faced an angry reaction from people who complained that last night's police action was far from adequate. 5Live reporter Sophie Hutchinson said that exchanges between Johnson and angry locals in nearby Clapham Junction was also 'pretty tense.' She added: 'There are a lot of very, very angry shopkeepers and residents here, who have been waiting all day to find out when they can get back into their homes or businesses.' Another Tory MP, Peter Luff tweeted: '[There is] no single explanation for this anarchy but rioters [are] likely to be products of failed families - bored, selfish, unloved young men.' So, that's one single explanation, it would seem. And, that explanation is that they're all low-life scum created by the likes of you and other politicians of all parties, Peter me old china. If maybe you and a few of your colleagues were doing a little less tweeting and a bit more effing work, then perhaps the situation might not have got to this stage. But, we'll never know, now, will we? Just a bit of a radical suggestion thrown in there. You know, to aid the debate and all that. Police officers across London have had their leave and training cancelled to 'stop the thuggery,' Deputy Assistant Commissioner Steve Kavanagh told 5Live. And, as everyone knows, there's nothing quite so angry as a plod who should've had his feet up with the family on a beach in Tenerife instead standing on Hackney High Street with a riot shield and a truncheon in his hands. Look out all you thieving pondscum toerags, you might just find it's skull-cracking time tonight. Kavanagh also appealed to members of the public to 'report' anyone who 'might have' possession of stolen goods. Well, that's potentially anybody, isn't it? Grass up thy neighbour if you don't like the cut of his or her jib seems to be the watchword here - it's what all the cool kids are doing these days, apparently. 'We want to react very quickly to this. The Met is absolutely committed to bringing these greedy thugs to justice.' Labour's deputy leader Mad Hatty Harman told the BBC's News Channel that police must use 'whatever means is necessary to ensure that order is restored. People cannot be living in fear in London.' Up-to-and-including hanging people by their bollocks with piano wire until they confess to being a witch? The question wasn't asked. Robin Brant, the BBC's political correspondent added: 'What this boils down to for the prime minister and the government is who is in charge? There is a perception when you look at the pictures [from last night] that is it isn't the police or the politicians who are in charge, it's the looters.' Soon afterwards it was announced that parliament would be recalled on Thursday in response to rioting. Just after Tommy Watson (power to the people!) had called for it. God, is there anything that bloke can't achieve? The government's emergency committee COBRA met on Tuesday morning after rioting spread across London, with violence flaring in other major cities. 'We will do everything necessary to restore order to Britain's streets and make them safe for the law-abiding,' David Cameron said in Downing Street. Meanwhile, up in Birmingham, John Hemming the MP for Yardley claimed that police had arrested around one hundred and forty suspected criminals in the city last night and early today. He told Sky News: 'This is basically looting, they're trying to get money out of things. The police have done a good job in catching as many people as possible and people will get punished.' Nigel Farage, the leader of UKIP on Twitter called for the government to send in the army: 'COBRA must call in military support for the police if they are to control these riots. The population deserve protection,' he dribbled. However, on the BBC News website, one Karl from Leicester wrote: 'As an army officer, please do not go on about bringing the military in. More or less all the army has been in a war zone within the last two years, they have been fighting literally for their lives. I would have great concern that our troops are too prepared for using lethal force to be placed into an environment of violence on British streets.'  No, it's not my idea of how you control what is, basically, civil disorder either. Liberal Conspiracy blogger Sunny Hundal meanwhile has been challenging what he describes as 'Only poor people go looting, and other claims.' He argues that 'rich people do go out looting; they just do so in other ways.' England's football friendly against the Netherlands at Wembley on Wednesday has been called off. The Football Association confirmed the decision on their website. Carling Cup matches at Charlton Athletic, West Ham United, Crystal Palace and Bristol City have also been postponed. The Indian press had expressed concern that violence and disorder in Birmingham could have jeopardised the third cricket Test between India and England, BBC Monitoring reported. The Hindustan Times and India Today both said that the match, to be played at Edgbaston, 'now seems doubtful.' However, within minutes of those claims, Edgbaston officials said that the Test starting on Wednesday will go ahead as planned. The most outrageous foreign reaction - by far - came from Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast, who urged the UK government to 'avoid harsh confrontation' and 'exercise restraint' when dealing with 'the demonstrators.' Because, of course, they've got such a great record of dealing with such things in a reasoned and balanced way in Tehran, haven't they? On a similar theme, the Chinese newspaper Renmin Ribao commented that with the Olympics to be hosted in the British capital next year, 'the security situation in London, which has always been a first-choice site for terrorist attacks, will be even grimmer.' Well, indeed. And yet you lot got given the Olympics after Tiananmen Square. Go figure. London is burning - North London looked like a war zone yesterday, said a headline in the Israeli newspaper Ma'ariv. Printed in a city that regularly is a war zone, that really was irony. And, as if things weren't bad enough, the bakery chain Greggs added that one of its stores in Peckham was destroyed by fire, another in Enfield was looted and a delivery driver was assaulted at an undisclosed location in London. No! Not a shortage of chicken bakes on top of everything else? Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, in Birmingham, warned those responsible for last night's vandalism and looting that they will be arrested if they go out again. 'My question also is for the families, for the mothers and fathers. Do you know where your teenage son is? Do you know where your teenage daughter is? Get hold of them on their mobile phone. Get them back home which is where they should be tonight, not out on the streets.' Earlier, crowds had audibly booed Clegg during a walkabout in the city. 'Go home' was shouted before he was ushered into a waiting car looking, frankly, scared. As the car left New Street some of those gathered heckled 'go on, run, run, run.' Well, he's in a car, so it's more drive, drive, drive, but we think he got the message. A Hackney local, meanwhile, was telling 5Live: 'When you've got bankers taking their bonuses and MP's taking money off people like me for their moats, and their chateaus and their castles, this is the result.' There was some good news, however. Twitter users were volunteering en masse - and across several cities - to help clear their local areas using the hashhag #RiotCleanup. Stephen Fry - safely twelve thousand miles away in New Zealand, admittedly - expressed his admiration for the volunteers: 'I do hope that if I was in London now I'd be as good and brave and kind as all those who are agreeing to meet and help clean up.' As, indeed, do we all, I guess. There have been some erroneous reports of looting in Salford Precinct which were subsequently quashed by Greater Manchester police. Shops there had been closing early, according to some reports. Various tweets also indicated that there was a heavy police presence in Manchester city centre - specifically outside the Arndale shopping centre and in Piccadilly - but there had been no reports of any trouble. Over in Liverpool, there was also a heavy police presence in last night's trouble spots around Smithdown Road, Grove Street, and outside the Myrtle Street Tesco - which is now closed. Many other shops had also closed early, with the shutters firmly down in most units in the Myrtle Street precinct. There were many Autoglass vans working to repair damaged windows in local businesses. People did, it was noted, seem to be bracing themselves for more trouble in Liverpool. A riot officer involved in policing the Tottenham violence on Saturday night gave a graphic online account of the powerlessness he and other officers felt as 'unprecedented' looting took hold around them. In an anonymous online posting, the policeman also told of facing volleys of stones and bricks, the 'terror' of seeing a fellow officer hurt, and the 'heartbreak' of consoling a distraught shopkeeper who had lost his livelihood. The graphic blog, by 'Inspector Winter' – who describes himself as 'a mid-thirties law enforcement officer' - compared the disturbances to the looting in post-invasion Iraq in 2003. Posted on Monday, the account told of the bewilderment and sadness of the policeman's experience, and quickly became an online hit. 'Winter' wrote: 'I have never experienced looting of this scale, the wholesale sacking of shops is taking place, we know it is taking place and there is nothing we can do about it. We're outnumbered, we're encumbered by protective equipment and we're drained. If we blunder into this kind of situation we'll do more harm than good. And that's when it happens, my moment of terror "MAN DOWN," two words I never want to hear. We run to form a cordon round the fallen officer, shields up in all directions, everyone alert and scanning for a threat. I can't see anything but I can feel the impact of stones against my helmet, I can see some glass breaking around us, thankfully the downed officer isn't badly hurt. The officer, apparently also a former serviceman, told of having to restrain a shopkeeper running into a burning building to salvage his stock. Taking off my helmet so I can hear him better, he sobs as he explains to me about his life, and how he has built up his trade and now does not know what to do. I simply do not know what to say to him, when I survey the streets around us it reminds me of the looting that took place in Iraq in 2003, it's genuinely heartbreaking. I do something I find myself doing a lot over the next few hours, telling him I'm sorry and then giving him a manly hug with a pat on the back. Helmet back on and we're off somewhere else.' Revisiting Tottenham on Sunday in plain clothes following the riots, 'Winter' described the damage as 'shocking' and looking as if there had been 'a rampage by a herd of elephants.' The blog continued: 'I don't know what this evening will hold, I hope that it is all over, I hope that we do not see any more injured officers, no more wounded members of the public, no more lives destroyed by the idiocy of people who cannot control their own greed.' Meanwhile, the Lib Dem MP Stephen Williams blogged about the reasons for the violence: 'Everyone wants to be rich and famous, without wanting to work hard to reach those otherwise acceptable ambitions. So I think the prime motivators behind the looting are greed and jealousy, rather than sorrow and anger. Basic human failings that have been around forever. Not contemporary political gripes but certainly contemporary social malaise.' So, what you're basically saying is that Simon Cowell and X Factor are responsible, yes Mr Williams? Sounds a bit circumstantial to me but, hey, let's hang Cowell from the nearest lamp post just to be on the safe side. Media attempts to blame the Tottenham riots on 'a network of organised thugs' is the latest way to distance ourselves from the problems of this community and our young people who desperately need a voice, according to Gavin Knight, writing in the Gruniad Morning Star. Presumably, Gav himself didn't come home last night to find his gaff going up in smoke like many people in London did otherwise, one feels, his article might have taken a somewhat different route. Christ save us all from the Gruniad, they really are a frigging piece of work. Another apparent apologist for the scummery was one Waed Ali from Leicester. He also seemed to be claiming that he was the reincarnation of Nostradamus. On the BBC News website he wrote: 'I've seen it coming!' Well, what a pity you didn't tell anyone about it before it happened, Waed. You could've saved everyone a whole heap of trouble if you had. 'I work in education and have seen students come through the system and leave with very little prospects of a job and lifeskills. There is a lot of anger about families under financial strain, the gulf between rich and poor, the media spreading consumerism, and financial institutions putting pressure on troubled families.' Yeah. And the way they solve that is by going out and looting some trainers and a big telly. That makes perfect sense. Meanwhile, a blog called Catch a Looter 'collates all images of looters' and asks members of the public to call Crimestoppers if they recognise them. 'This site does not support vigilante action,' the author of the blog adds, helpfully. If the News of the World had still been around, it probably would have. Russian TV channel Rossiya 24 said that parts of London resembled 'a battlefield.' However, then they went too far. Citing a report on Twitter, the Rossiya 24 correspondent claimed that animals had been released from London Zoo and that 'lions and tigers could now be heard roaring on the streets.' This was wearily contradicted by the Zoo's press officer. 'It's been very quiet,' she told the BBC. Well, it was until you just rang, she didn't add, but perhaps should have. A Libyan TV presenter who claims that he can talk to spirits and mobilise them in support of Colonel Gaddafi, claimed that Libya was 'proud' of the rioters in England. Speaking in English on state-run Al-Jamahiriyah TV, Yusuf Shakir said people in Libya would hold a demonstration thmselves to 'show their solidarity'. 'We support you black power in Tottenham,' he said. Not directly by way of contradiction, but it's remarkably fitting to put it here here, the Conservative MP Nicky Morgan tweeted: 'In Middle East people demonstrate for freedom [and] democracy. In Britain people riot to break in to Currys and Lidl. Time for serious response here.' Aye, it probably is. And this blog almost certainly isn't the place for that response to be debated, so ...

There's really only one record we could have as today's Keith Telly Topping's 45 of the Day. It's not pretty, but it's sadly accurate.